Author of "Four Years For the Union"


My father was born in York state; my mother in New Jersey. Their family consisted of seven boys and two girls, the author being the third child, born May 27, 1840, in Freeport, Shelby county, Indiana; moved with his parents to the territory of Iowa in 1841, and settled in Louisa county, near Columbus City, only a short time after the Black Hawk war.

My father located a land warrant in Marion township, Henry county, Iowa, on the Brandywine, six miles north of Mount Pleasant, called Cottage Grove. On this farm I grew to manhood. Raised on the frontier, accustomed to hardships and deprivation, with but little opportunity to acquire an education until about ten or twelve yeas of age, then going long distances across the prairies in winter. Like many others in those early days, by the light of the fireplace or the rag lamp at night, succeeded in obtaining a fair common school education. Naturally industrious, ambitious, energetic and of a good moral character, working late and early; never late at school; standing well in the class. At the age of nineteen years I entered college at Mount Pleasant, Iowa, intending to graduate. After nine months of hard study, my standing was 100 per cent in all of my studies but one, and that was 99 per cent.

I received a first grade certificate and taught a four-months school in Wain (sic) township, Henry county, Iowa, with satisfaction to all. At the close of this term of school I entered the army, not yet twenty-one years of age. Went at the first call; entered Company F, First Iowa Infantry - first company from the county and first regiment from the state. Was under General Lyon at Wilson Creek, Mo., where we fought the enemy five hours, five to one, and retreated only after General Lyon fell, and then in good order. Was mustered out at St. Louis the 20th day of August, 1861, having served three months and twelve days, thus fighting the battle of Wilson Creek two days after our time was out.

On my return home I again entered the United States army, this time in the Fourth Iowa Volunteer Cavalry, for three years, or during the war; veteranized at Vicksburg in the winter of 1863, and served to close of war, August, 1865. During the war I marched many thousands of miles; engaged in more than twenty battles; was wounded at or near Vicksburg; also had my horse shot from under me, my hat shot off and my saber scabbard marked by a bullet.

Was promoted from private to Sergeant, from Sergeant to First Sergeant and from First Sergeant to First Lieutenant, and commanded the company to the close of the war, 1865. Mustered out at Atlanta, Ga., August, 1865. Returned home at close of war and married Miss Sue M. Rogers, November 9, 1865, and followed farming several years. In Iowa, January 20, 1870, my wife died, and left me with three little girls. Soon after I moved to Southern Kansas, and in a few years was again married to Miss Martha C. Anderson, in 1873. Lived in Camby county, Kansas some fifteen years, when I again moved to Springfield, Baco county, Colorado, my present place of abode. Arrived here in 1887, took up a homestead, and am at present the owner of Belle View ranch, one and one-half miles east of Springfield, on Cat creek, in Colorado, the Centennial state.

Contributed by Susie Keller-McCain and transcribed by Conni McDaniel Hall, January 2024. The journal is located in the Oskaloosa Library, Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, Iowa.

Added 02 January 2024 to Henry County IAGenWeb.
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